Nihiwatu Resort on Sumba Island, Indonesia, has
been named as a “World Savers Award 2013” winner.
Every year, Condé Nast Traveler (US) honours
travel companies that are doing their bit to help save the planet,
from fighting climate change to protecting wildlife and
Co-founded by Claude Graves in 1998, Nihiwatu
was recently sold to J. Christopher Burch, founder and CEO of
Burch Creative Capital, in partnership with hotelier James
Nihiwatu’s origins were not initially based on
building an hotel with philanthropy in mind. Graves wanted a good
beach which was identified on the Indonesian island of Sumba. In
the process of development, the dire local needs, from clean water
to medical care were clearly apparent. In 2001, Nihiwatu turned to
guests for help and established the Sumba Foundation to oversee
the charity work and provide transparent reports to donors. More
than US$4.9 million has been donated to the foundation to date,
with guest contributions averaging about US$5,000.
In each community it enters on the beautiful but
impoverished island, the foundation first digs wells, then
launches a malaria control program, and finally builds a clinic so
that no one has to walk more than two miles for care.
impressive results so far are the installation of 60 wells
supplying clean water to 20,230 people and 16 schools in 205 villages. More than 20,000 people in 400 villages have benefited
from free malaria testing; 9,000 have been treated and provided
with free mosquito nets; and 286 infants and children have been
saved from malaria-related deaths at the 5 foundation clinics.
Nihiwatu is everything a luxury traveller has come to expect from
a remote getaway; thatched-roof villas with private plunge pools
overlooking the Indian Ocean and elegant fixtures handcrafted from
local stone and teak. Guests have the option to get involved.
ten-page booklet in each room highlights initiatives that need
funding, and in the bar, the property shows a short film on the
efforts of the Sumba Foundation.
In addition to diving, fishing,
surfing, and indulging in spa treatments, guests are encouraged to
tour the projects. You can take a horseback ride through the
jungle, for example, and visit villages with employee Data Daku
who, as a result of the fund-raising efforts of the Sumba
Foundation has sent his brothers, sisters, and children to college
following support from the foundation’s scholarships.
foundation is also undertaking a reforestation project which is
planting 15,000 teak trees a year. Each season the nursery
distributes some 5,000 saplings to 30 families that have joined
the project. With the first harvest in 2025, they may share in
income distribution of as much as US$3.5 million each year.
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